If I Can Do It, ANYONE Can

I was depressed and suicidal for around 15 years. I tried numerous anti-depressants, went to see doctors and even checked myself into a mental hospital.

Looking back, I realize I had to hit rock bottom in order to realize what I truly wanted in life. I want what everyone wants: to feel happy!  But how?

Happiness means something different to each and every person.  While on the anti-depressants, it became a habit to think negative thoughts. Time passed and I became a negative person. I soon was in the middle of living a negative life.

Each thought we think creates a “neural groove” on and into our brains. A small line or groove is literally physically etched into our brain. The more you think that thought the deeper that groove becomes.     If the grooves deepen with each thought, how much deeper do you think they become when they are backed up with consistent actions?  How important are the thoughts you are thinking every day?

It’s been over three years since I got off those medications. ALL of them. I have never been more happy or grateful for my life, and it has been a consistent thing for the last three years. My life literally keeps getting better and better as time passes, and while I don’t have everything figured out, this is how I got from daily suicidal thoughts to a happy, fulfilling life:

1 -I decided I needed a change.  Have you ever been sick and tired of the way your life is going?  I was.  At this time I was homeless (thank God my three sons were able to live with their mom full-time on a temporary basis), injured (I had just ruptured a disc in my back yet again), and I didn’t have a vehicle.

2 – I thought about what I wanted. This changes from time to time, but I knew I wanted a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I wanted to spend as much quality, positive time with my three sons that I could.  Knowing  exactly what you want is 85% of the battle!  Once I knew what I wanted I knew exactly what I needed to do to get there.

3 – I started a mental list of every single thing I had to be grateful for in my every daily life. Within a month of doing this every day on the way to work I was already a different person. Try it. You’ll see.

4 – A month after the “Gratitude Experiment” I began to read a daily excerpt from a book called, “The Language of Letting Go”, by Melody Beattie.  I also saved every positive quote I came across on Facebook and Pinterest.

5 – A month later I watched a documentary called, “Fed Up” on Netflix. Trust me. Watch it. I lost 60 pounds of fat within a matter of months simply by changing my diet and cutting sugars out of it as much as possible.  There is always something every single one of us can do to improve our diet, lifestyle, mentality, our health or anything else in our lives.  It is a choice.

See The Transformation

I continued to do these things, as much as possible, every single day. CONSISTENCY WAS THE KEY.  Sometimes I need some down time, but I always go back to my new habits and new thoughts.

We all have bad days. We all get tired. But I’ve changed some habitual ways of thinking, which changed the way I am habitually living.  It took years.  It was totally worth it. I love my life. I am so blessed.

Pit Bull said, “It’s not about making it. It’s about maintaining it.”

Making a lot of changes at one time can be extremely overwhelming.  If you start with one change, change what you decide to focus on and think about. That one thing will change everything automatically.  BE GRATEFUL.

Change can be incredibly difficult, but…

Seriously, If I Can Do It, ANYONE Can.


I no longer have the desire to be entertained!  What we watch, what we listen to, and what we read will draw us in.  It will be what we think about and what we focus on.

We are constantly bombarded by the television, by our phones, by the radio and even the conversations of co workers and those we spend our time with.  There are constantly adds and comercials running and popping up, trying to catch our attention and entice our minds, in hopes of removing the cash from our bank accounts we worked so hard for.  They are designed to create within us a desire for things we don’t need to impress people we don’t even know or like.

I watch or listen to the news and find myself getting angry, filled with anxiety and fear, and caught up in the excitement and drama of it all.  I am drawn into watching and listening more because it is all so sensationalized and stimulating and exciting!  At the end of the day, I realize that instead of spending my free time with the people I love, I’ve wasted my time with things that don’t even really matter.   I end up feeling like my mind and my time was hijacked.


We are in control.  We are in control of our minds.  We are in control of our time.  We choose what we will watch, what we will listen to and what we will read.  We are in control of what we will do.  Now is not the time to be complacent or lazy.  Now is a time of action, goals, execution, vision, and contentment.

Life is short!  Time to live every day as though it might be the last.  The reality is, it might be.

Ultimately, you are in control.  You create your reality by controlling your thoughts and what is going on in your head.  Make it a beautiful life!


Looking After Number One


Looking after number one

At one of the most difficult points in my life, my sister Trudy passed on to me some wisdom she had learned from another single parent: “If you take good care of yourself, your kids will be better off because of it.”  At the time I was struggling with guilt because I had very little time with my children and I was trying to decide if I should use a portion of the time I had with my sons to go to the gym. After hearing this bit of advice I decided to work out consistently and because of it my life improved. Why?  My stress levels went down.  My thinking was more clear.   My health was better and my diet improved. The little time I had with my children was of a higher quality than other times in my life when I spent years not working out or going to the gym.

On an airplane, during an emergency, if the oxygen masks shoot out of the plane, it is suggested that we put on a mask for ourselves first before helping those around us.  This way, we are able to think clearly enough because we have enough oxygen going to our own brain to then help those around us.  In our lives, the more we use certain tools to help ourselves and better our position in life, the more the people around us will benefit from being a part of our lives. The better we care for ourselves, the more we can do for others.

There are positive and unintentional by-products of us taking the best care of ourselves that we possibly can.   When we better our position in this life and strive to be the best version of ourselves we can possibly be, it benefits those around us, specifically our children. We all have the option to choose to do whatever we want to. Most children will do what we do regardless of what it is, and hopefully will become the best version of themselves as well.

The only thing we can truly control is ourselves.  As much as we would like to control others sometimes, it is true that we have no control over anyone but ourselves. We can certainly influence others, but each of us has to eventually accept responsibility for our own thoughts and words and actions. We all need to assume full responsibility for our own self control.

Self control is one of the most important tools we can have!

If you have your mind and control of it, you can do anything and be anything you want to.

Feeding your mind

How important is it then what we feed our minds?  What do we choose to watch on tv?  What do we choose to read?  What is it we choose to focus on-especially when it is not required we focus on anything at all?

A good gauge is our speech and the topic of our conversations throughout the day. What do we find ourselves talking with others about throughout the duration of the day?  Do we choose to keep it positive?  Do we choose to change the topic of conversation to something we would prefer to focus on if the conversation is negative in nature or not conducive to the positive change we are trying to make for ourselves?

Most people don’t know what they want. They don’t know what they want for themselves, what they want out of this life, what they want to do for a living.  Knowing what we want is 85% of the battle.

After we know exactly what we want and focus on it, only then do things become increasingly easy for us in our everyday lives.  When we know what we want, it becomes very clear to us what we need to do in order to obtain whatever it is we desire.

When we focus on what we want, everything we don’t want and all of the anxiety and worry and stress surrounding it falls away and disappears. 


It is important for each of us to decide exactly what we want for ourselves.  We are all individuals and we need to decide for ourselves which tools will help us the most to acquire that which we want for ourselves.

Decide what types of thoughts you want to think. Decide the words you want to come out of your mouth. Decide the type of person you want to be and exactly what you want for yourself in this life. It is YOUR life. It is YOUR responsibility to make it the way YOU want it to be.

It is nobody’s responsibility to save you!  You need to realize that and save yourself.  You need to believe in yourself so much that even if someone comes along and offers to save you that you say, “Thanks, but I’ve got this!”

Share your story to inspire others:

We all have a story. We are all at different places in our life experience. Please share an experience, a lesson, a quote that inspired you to action or anything  that has helped you along the way.  Sharing is empowering and helpful for yourself and for others who may be struggling.

For years I kept my story a secret, believing I was alone in darkness and self-loathing.  I believed those things should be private and that sharing anything about myself wasn’t okay. It wasn’t until I shared for the first time that I realized how healing and helpful and empowering it could be.


Share your story by clicking here.

The Uncle

Last night was date night. It has been a while since we had been out to see a movie. We watched The Accountant.

I related to many things in the movie in so many different ways. I found myself wishing I could have been more like the father in the movie, and helped my three sons more than I actually did to prepare them for their futures. I came to some realizations while watching the movie that I can’t stop thinking about.

My oldest son was diagnosed at the age of 10 with Asperger’s Syndrome.  I had no clue what Asperger’s Syndrome was.  There is still so much I don’t know about it.  One thing I am learning is that there are helpful tools out there for people with Asperger’s Syndrome.  For that matter, there are helpful tools out there for everyone, not just people with Asperger’s.

During the first two years of my sons life, I didn’t recognize anything different about him. When things that could have been considered different or “not normal behavior for a juvenile” were exhibited by my son, I didn’t recognize them.  He was my first child.  I loved him unconditionally,  and anything he did at that time seemed completely normal to me.

His second year he hit people a lot. He would slap at me with his chubby little fist. I thought it was cute-just a phase he was going through. Once, we were at a family dinner at my ex wife’s Uncle’s house in Utah. He was a well known Child Psychologist at the time and in great demand. He walked up to my toddler and said, “Hello”.  My son hit him on his thigh and turned around to walk away. The Uncle said, “Watch this”, and immediately picked up my son, sat him on his lap, wrapped his legs around my sons legs and engulfed him in a firm bear hug. My son immediately freaked out and started screaming and struggling.

While he was doing this the Uncle was speaking to him calmly, telling him that in his house hitting was not allowed. He did it in a calm, soothing voice, keeping a firm grip on my son’s little body so he couldn’t move. Then, he told him this: “As soon as you are quiet, I will let you go, but you can’t hit me or anyone else in my home ever again.”

My son immediately became calm, still, and silent.  He waited to see if the Uncle would do what he said.  I couldn’t believe he could even hear what the Uncle had said because he was screaming so loudly.

As soon as he was released, my enraged two year old turned around and hit the Uncle in his thigh as hard as his pudgy little fist would fly. Immediately, the Uncle repeated what he had just done, but at the end of it he wouldn’t let my son go until he had agreed to not hit anyone in his home again. He never did.
At our home he did it twice more, then never again, as I copied what the Uncle taught everyone.

The Uncle had explained to me the importance of consistency-especially for young children, and the importance of remaining calm and relaxed in my intonation when speaking to my son. It makes sense to have boundaries, be black and white and predictable.  Doing these things are easy while they are little and impressionable and malleable and conditionable.  When they are older, bigger, stronger, and have a mind and beliefs of their own, they will be set in their ways and it will be much more difficult.

The Uncle had four children. He was an amazing father. I often referred to him as, The Child Whisperer”.  He has since passed away. I often think about how many other tricks he had up his sleeve in guiding and teaching children to conform to “appropriate social behavior”, and how to react to other people and situations during stressful circumstances.

In the world of psychology these helpful hints and tricks are called tools.

Every single one of us is so completely different. Individuality is what makes humans truly beautiful. The other day I spoke to a woman who raised quadruplet boys. She mentioned how fascinating it had been to raise them, love them, and treat them all the same way, then to watch them all grow up to be so incredibly different.

Some “tools” work for some individuals, and others do not.

It took me years to realize and believe that “different” isn’t the same as “odd” or “weird”.  The word “normal” is dangerous.  What is normal?  I like the way my fiancé looks at it:  “We are all freaks in our own way.  We are all different, and that is a good thing.”

My son is different. He is brilliant. He is focused and responsible and dependable. He is special. He is strong. He is adaptable. He is a survivor. He amazes me and has achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. I am truly proud of him. 

There are some social behaviors that are helpful to recognize and practice.  Not being able to conform in some ways in today’s society will land you in jail.

I’ve come to realize that there are countless tools to help any individual function at their best in any given situation.The more we know of these tools, the more we can use them to help ourselves and to raise our children to become high-functioning, contributing, successful members of society.

We will be going over some of the more helpful tools that can help us to become our best selves and help us to help our loved ones do the same. When we make changes for the better in ourselves and consistently strive to be the best version of ourselves we can possibly be, things will change for the better!  Our thoughts and our very way of thinking will change. Our words will change and our actions will change. By starting with our thoughts, we can literally change our lives.

When we change for the better, others will benefit by default.

I remember a few years ago I cut sugars out of my diet almost completely. I lost weight, was able to start working out again, became more healthy and felt better than I had in years.  As an unintended Bi product, my children saw the positive change in my mood and body and health and desired the same for themselves.

They started coming to the gym with me, changed their own eating habits, and made some positive changes for themselves!

The Transformation

Any transformation we experience starts on the inside.  It starts in our mind.  Some of us get destroyed emotionally and have to start all over.  Others are goal oriented and create a new life on purpose.  I want to share pictures of my own personal transformation over the last year and a half:

It’s easy to notice all of the physical changes, but what you can’t see are all of the chemical, hormonal, spiritual, and emotional changes, and the inner growth and healing, that led to the manifestation of the physical, outside changes in me.


(This is me and my middle son in April, 2014 at his JROTC graduation.  He is now a US Marine.)


(This is me and my oldest son during his graduation from a Technical school in 2014.)


(Here we are in June of 2014, volunteering at an event for the homeless.  I was in the habit of drinking anywhere from 4 to 8 of these “Thirst Busters” daily, though I always stuck to what I thought was the healthier choice of PowerAde or Gatorade.  This is the day before I ruptured a disc in my back simply by picking up an empty cup off the side of the bath tub.)


(This is me with my three sons in October of 2014.  At this point in my life I had lost my job, was going through my third divorce, and had starting driving cab a couple of times a week.  I had moved into my mom and stepdad’s condo and had just decided to cut sugars out of my diet because of the documentary, Fed Up, which I highly recommend to everyone.)

IMG_3065 (1)

(This is us at Butcher Jones Beach, Saguaro Lake,  in March of 2015.)



(By July, I had dropped in weight from 250 lbs. to 190 lbs.  It started with a change of mindset, then a change in my diet.  I did pull-ups, planks, and rode my bike everywhere.)


(July 18th, 2015 having a cookout with my best friend and his family.)


(August 1st, 2015 at a good friend’s house, watching the fights.)


(My wife I am so blessed to be married to.  We knew each other growing up since the 6th grade, but never hung out.  We reconnected in 2015 and began dating months later.  We were married after dating for two years.)

I’m healthier, stronger physically and emotionally, happier, and better off now then I have ever been.  In 2014 I was stuck in an unhappy relationship, stressed out, over weight and feeling hopeless.  I was suicidal for 15 years.  Years ago I had been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, bi-polar disorder, and extreme depression.  My doctors told me that I would never work again, it would never get better, and that I needed to go on Social Security benefits in order to survive.  For years I believed the doctors and what they told me.  I listened to their advice.

In 1999, I was at work when my boss told me I was “moody”.  It kind of hurt my feelings.  At the time I was married to my first wife.  We had two sons and I was working a lot of overtime to make ends meet.  I was a driver for a non-emergency transportation company, and while I loved it, I was working anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.  Looking back, of course I was “moody!”  I was exhausted.  So I went home at the end of the day and asked my wife if she also thought I was moody.  Her response was that there may be something to what my boss was saying and maybe I should see a doctor, and so I did.  The doctor spoke with me for about five minutes, asked a few questions, and quickly determined it was possible that I was depressed and suggested that I try a new and popular medication called, “Prozac.”

Not long after starting to take this pill, I was on top of the world!  I no longer needed to eat or sleep.  I drank about a liter of Coke a day and snacked every once in a while.  With the help of my neighbor, I built my first computer and within a month was designing web pages.  By the second month, I started an online web design company, came up with an idea for a non profit organization, started a new job, enrolled in school full time and lost 40 pounds.  I had never felt so alive!  I had never functioned so well!  My wife was impressed and started calling me Superman.  Things had never gone so well.  Life was perfect.

At the beginning of the third month on the Prozac, during my first week back to school, without even really thinking about it, I left the house as usual one morning to drive to work and ended up at a gun store.  I bought a 9mm handgun, drove to work, quit my job, and drove up into the mountains to kill myself.  I was completely unable to think straight.  My head felt foggy.  I had never thought of killing myself before.  It was terrifying.

I slowly and methodically wrote goodbye letters to my parents and my sisters and my wife.  When I picked up the gun out of the seat next to me I started to sob.  I cried for what seemed like hours.  I knew something wasn’t right and I knew that for the first time in my life I really needed help.  I didn’t know where to go, who to turn to, or what to do.  I decided to drive back home and tell my wife what had happened and how I was feeling.  I remember being in the middle of a snow storm in our Astro van at Alta ski resort, wondering why I had driven up into the mountains in a two wheel drive and realizing it was because at the time it hadn’t mattered.  I wasn’t planning on driving anywhere ever again.  Now, here I was, stuck in the middle of a snow storm, wanting to get home but unable to.

I rocked the van back and forth in an effort to back out of the little parking lot but was unable to go more than a foot from the spot I was in.  I was startled when a woman started to bang on the window.  I rolled it down, wondering what she was doing walking outside in the middle of what was shaping up to be a blizzard.  The wind was blowing the ice and snow sideways and here she was, offering to help push my van out into the roadway.  To this day I still wondered where she came from and where she found the strength to actually help me get the van unstuck.

I remember as she was talking to me and asking if I wanted her help, she looked at the gun and the bullets and the letters I had written on the front seat next to me.  An overwhelming feeling of guilt came over me, but there was no judgment in her eyes.  No fear.  She simply looked at me and said, “Let’s get you out of here.”  I was so grateful when I made it down the mountain safely and was able to walk back in my home and hold my wife and kids.  That was the beginning of the end of my old life.

A lot has happened since then.  I’ve learned a lot from the life I’ve lived.  I’m grateful for every moment, every “mistake” made, every lesson learned, and for every person I’ve encountered along the way.  I believe God works miracles through other people.  There are no accidents.  There are no mistakes.  There is purpose in everything we experience and in each moment of our lives is a blessing.  Everything that happens, both good and bad, eventually ends up being for our good, and it is all part of an elaborate plan we may never understand in this life time.

We all know what paranoia means.  I LOVE the opposite: PRONOIA.  It’s definition is worth repeating and reviewing, DAILY: